Africare News Release

 

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Waters of the flooded Zambezi River edge toward homes near Caia in north-central Mozambique on February 14, 2007. Photograph courtesy of Reuters AlertNet

A man, evacuated from his home on the flooded Zambezi River, chops firewood in a temporary resettlement area near Cheramba, about 1400km (870 miles) north of the Mozambican capital city, Maputo, February 12, 2007. Photograph courtesy of Reuters AlertNet

Rising Flood Waters Threaten Thousands in East and Southern Africa

EAST AND SOUTHERN AFRICA, February 23, 2007 — Heavy rains and massive flooding continue destroying farm fields and homes of thousands of people in four Southern African countries (Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia) and two East African countries (Burundi and Tanzania). The rains began early January 2007 and are not expected to slow until March/April this year, with the conclusion of each country’s rainy season. Authorities estimate that, in Mozambique alone, more than 120,000 people have been forced from their homes and into makeshift refugee centers along the Zambezi Valley. That number is expected to jump exponentially as the country braces for its tropical cyclone season.

On the southwestern tip of the continent, Angolan government authorities have reported that 40,000 families have been affected by rising waters — and since January 1, more than 6,000 outbreaks of the water-borne disease, cholera (typically ingested by drinking contaminated water), have surfaced. Similar reports are beginning to trickle in from neighboring Namibia.

Shelter, food and disease prevention have become the top priorities of many international assistance organizations.

Reports of disaster conditions and needs for assistance have begun pouring into Africare’s offices in East and Southern Africa. Africare’s country representatives and volunteers in Mozambique, Angola and Tanzania are preparing to respond to the flood emergency with several relief efforts. Click on a specific country, below, to learn more:

Mozambique

Angola

Tanzania

MOZAMBIQUE

The worst of Southern Africa’s flooding is concentrated in the central region of Mozambique. According to the United Nations World Food Programme, persistent heavy rains in central and northern Mozambique have flooded the Zambezi, Chire and Rivubue Rivers in Tete, Manica, Sofala and Zambezia provinces. In those areas, an estimated 4,200 people have been affected by the floods in Tambara district and approximately 700 hectares of crops destroyed in Guro district alone. While exact numbers remain unknown, it is believed that upwards of 50,000 families in the Zambezi flood plain have been forced to evacuate their homes and attempt passage to higher ground. Many roads, however, have become impassable due to heavy rains -- stranding thousands of families at refugee centers far removed from their district capitals.

Africare/Mozambique has been meeting with several international NGOs to identify where the need is greatest and find clusters of evacuees who have not been tended to by other relief organizations. Currently, Africare representatives and staff are working with partner NGOs in the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC) to coordinate relief and recovery efforts.

Africare/Mozambique will be providing agricultural supplies in the form of relief kits for 600 families. Each kit will contain two hoes, one machete, one axe and one sickle -- in addition to maize, bean and vegetable seeds (cabbage, chinese rape, tomato, kale and onion).

Africare/Mozambique expects the need for relief aid to increase with the ongoing tropical cyclone season and is prepared to extend its assistance where needed most.

Africare has set up an East and Southern African Flood Relief Fund for anyone who would like to help. Your donation will be directed to the area that appears to have the greatest need and where assistance from other sources is not readily available. Follow this link to make your donation to the Africare East and Southern African Flood Relief Fund.

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ANGOLA

Flash flooding in overcrowded urban slums has increased fears of a worsening cholera epidemic in Angola, especially around the capital city of Luanda. According to the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), more than 6,000 cases have surfaced in 16 of 18 provinces since January 1: a grim reminder of the 2006 cholera outbreak that killed more than 1,800 people across the country. To date, Angolan authorities report that at least 40,000 people have been affected country-wide; of those affected, 11,000 have lost their homes. More than 3,000 families are reported to be homeless in Luanda.

Africare/Angola is working in Sambizanga (one of the affected peri-urban municipalities of Luanda), distributing insecticide-treated bed nets on behalf of the Angola Ministry of Health. Staff is also looking into the purchase of tents, mattresses and miscellaneous farming commodities and equipment to assist area flood victims. Additionally, Africare staff who were assigned to polio eradication activities in Luanda have been reassigned to help contain the spread of cholera.

Africare has set up an East and Southern African Flood Relief Fund for anyone who would like to help. Your donation will be directed to the area that appears to have the greatest need and where assistance from other sources is not readily available. Follow this link to make your donation to the Africare East and Southern African Flood Relief Fund.

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TANZANIA

Tanzanian flood victims have felt the largest impact in the Bahi and Chamwino districts of Dodoma. Flooding first began in Bahi mid-January and in Chamwino early February. Africare/Tanzania reports that over 1,000 people have been forced from their homes and are now displaced within neighboring communities. Flood victims in Chamwino were initially housed in school buildings; but as of mid-February, they had been relocated to neighboring houses. Limited space within the housing units has forced men to sleep outside while women and children huddle inside. More than 200 school children from both districts were affected by the flood and do not have uniforms, books or writing materials for classes. The immediate need for flood victims, however, remains the three basics: shelter, food and water.

Other matters of concern include health and agriculture:

Health: The danger of diseases remains an overwhelming concern as overcrowding, poor nutrition and exposure to pollutants flushed in by the flood waters increase with the rain. Malaria has also become a growing concern with increased mosquito breeding from the flood waters.

Agriculture: Attention has been drawn to future assistance needs in agriculture. The region’s crops are now at their peak growth-and-development period for the April/May harvest. Most of the maize and millet in the district’s farms were washed away by the floods. There is an emergency need for millet seeds to meet Chamwino and Bahi’s annual food reserve.

Africare/Tanzania is currently working to deliver to the districts an assortment of relief items, including tents, water storage/treatment containers, clothing, seeds for harvest and insecticide-treated bed nets for malaria prevention.

Africare has set up an East and Southern African Flood Relief Fund for anyone who would like to help. Your donation will be directed to the area that appears to have the greatest need and where assistance from other sources is not readily available. Follow this link to make your donation to the Africare East and Southern African Flood Relief Fund.

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